Sri Lanka rupee, bonds open steady; stocks gain slightly

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened steady on Wednesday, quoted wide at around 180.20/181.00 rupees to the US dollar in the spot market, while stocks gained slightly and bonds were largely unchanged amid a continuing political crisis in the country, dealers said.

The rupee closed around 180.50/90 rupees to the US dollar on Tuesday.

Gilt yields opened steady in the secondary market on dull sentiment, dealers said.

A three-year bond maturing in 2021 was at 11.88/97 percent, unchanged from the previous close.

A five-year bond maturing in 2023 was also unchanged at 11.95/12.05 percent, as was an eight-year bond maturing in 2027 at 12.33/45 percent.

Stocks opened steady with Colombo’s All Share index gaining 0.03 percent, up 1.54 points to 5,972.95; the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks was 0.06 percent higher, up 1.84 points to 3,150.33.

Hatton National Bank was up 1 rupee in early trading to 215 rupees and Sri Lanka Telecom gained 20 cents to 20.50 rupees.

Lanka Indian Oil Company was up 40 cents to 25.50 rupees and Chevron Lubricants gained 40 cents to 74 rupees.

Sri Lanka is sinking deeper into constitutional crisis with loyalists of president Maithripala Sirisena announcing a boycott of parliament accusing the Speaker of bias.

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It’s now more than a month since Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replaced him with former strong-man president Mahinda Rajapaksa, dissolving parliament and calling for elections in January.

The country’s Supreme Court issued an interim injunction against the dissolution of parliament which has since twice passed a no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa who has refused to yield.

An expanded bench of seven judges have been named to hear a case against the dissolution of parliament next month.

The court of appeal will hear a case this Friday disputing the legitimacy of Rajapaksa’s Cabinet. (COLOMBO, 28 November 2018)

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